Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has said the health sector is becoming a burden to county governments, and wants it returned to the national government.
Speaking in Chuka Igambang’ombe on Friday, the governor cited the nurses’ strike as why Kenyans should vote in a referendum to return the health function to the national government.
“We cannot control people who answer to a national union and it is the individual counties paying them,” he said at Mugumoni ward during a burial of the father of deputy auditor-general Alex Rugera.
“Let counties support the national government by providing infrastructure and medicine,” he added.
The nurses are demanding that the government signs their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Some governors have made good their threats to sack the striking medical workers while others have reached a consensus with them.
Governor Njuki acknowledged the importance of the nurses in the health sector, but noted that most residents were blaming the counties for the strike yet the devolved units have no control over it.
“It is apparent that counties have little capacity to run the health sector but they can support the national government through provision of infrastructure and medicine as it happens with education,” the governor observed.
He noted that county governments had tried to resolve the nurses’ strike but no solution has been found yet.
Chuka Igambang’ombe MP Patrick Munene said he is working on a motion seeking to revert the health services to the national government.
Besides nurses, clinical officers are also on strike.
On Saturday, the nurses maintained that the strike was legal.